Inspired By This

Pastel River Front Engagement Party

Why not kick off your engagement with a big, celebratory party?! After all, you’re engaged! Eric & Carey decided on a pastel river front engagement party in their beautiful backyard. Carey, founder and designer at The Idea Emporium, naturally had a lot of ideas to kick off their pre-wedding season. Below, she describes from where she found inspiration (mostly from their vibrant relationship, of course!) alongside beautiful photos by Heather Selzer.

Heather says, Inspired by her favorite date night outfit with Eric (an old dress handed down from her mother, made of pastel purples, pinks, & blues) & her own 14K Aquamarine engagement ring, Carey created a beautiful day filled with lots of meaningful details. These included the cake topper, which reads “Oh Sweetness” and is what Eric calls Carey. (It’s now a Christmas tree ornament for their home!) Additionally, the quote on the invites and on the coozie’s is how Carey feels about Eric, and she found it very fitting for their party! The bride-to-be herself designed all the design elements and collateral.

Carey describes how Eric proposed…

We went to my favorite beach town on the coast near where I grew up and he asked me to retire with him there one day. He then gave me a 14.7 karat aquamarine set in gold from my grandmother and diamonds from my parents. It’s the size of my face! I love how unique and outrageous it is…just like me.

Now for the engagement party…

We hosted the party in our backyard which happens to be right on the edge of the Sacramento River.  Our home used to be a bait and tackle shop called The River Marina so its unusual location on top of the levee rather than safely behind it, is due to water commerce from back in the day.  It was a natural choice for us to welcome our friends and family to our home to enjoy the view and celebrate with us in the early phase of our engagement.

As a stationery designer I knew I wanted to use my own wedding process to showcase a variety of print methods, so this suite is entirely digitally printed (the most cost effective print technique). The inspiration came from my engagement ring; I wanted to play with a soft baby blue reminiscent of an aquamarine stone. I then brought in several other pastels (a soft tangerine, coral, and green) and an abstract watercolor floral design. A tag set with a white eyelet was strung on hemp cording and held the cards in place. I used white envelopes with a deckled edge on the back flap to convey a sense of casualness.  

Working with a palette of pastels I created a brand that was soft, happy, & sweet by using a playful handwritten script and sans serif font.  


Molly used the most amazing pink orchids, green ruffled ranunculus, multilayered pink tulips, blue tweedia and orange roses throughout the pieces. Lavender scabiosa, blushing bride protea, snowberries, freesia, spray roses and delphinium filled out the arrangements and added depth. Then, for some added texture, she foraged poke berries, trumpet vine and other wild leaves from the river. Jumbo dahlias rested on a chandelier hanging over the bar and framed out the bar menu (which I made by laser cutting the letters then individually applying them to printed canvas with the same watercolor as the invitation)

Rice Krispy Treats shaped like a mini wedding cake were covered in chocolate ganache. I laser cut a cake topper that read “oh sweetness” which is how Eric greets me every morning and has a small loop on top so that it can be used as a Christmas tree ornament now that the party is over.

Urban Farmacy juice company came out and mixed up several special blends for Mimosas.  The rimmed the glasses with sugar, filled them with floral ice cubes and topped each drink with a peeled frozen grape that had been soaked in white wine and sugar- they were sooooo good!